Dressed to Kilt (A Scottish Highlands Mystery) by Hannah Reed

Publish Date July 5, 2016
Mass market $7.50, Kindle e-book $1.99

There are times when a good mystery must be read, and when it takes place in my beloved Scotland it’s even better.

Hannah Reed is a new to me author and like most readers, I’m typically weary of ‘new’ authors as I don’t know what writing style or story style the author will use. I was very pleasantly surprised [and happy] that without the first 2 books I was able to make sense of the heroine’s plight, the secondary characters were easy to assimilate in their reason for being in the story, and enough of the nuances of Scotland found its way into the book: idioms, weather, culture, etc.

The main character, Eden Elliott, a thirty-eight year old American writer from Chicago. While she’s no stranger to snow, the Scottish Highlands still take some getting used to. Reed brings Scotland in winter to the readers reality by using Eden to bring the everyday ‘struggles’, such as ‘living in a snow-globe’ which I stated MANY time while I lived in Alaska–love it! “…come to learn that the Scots are a well-prepared and rugged bunch.” which is very true if you’ve ever lived somewhere that doesn’t have a lot of concrete or bus service to get you where you need to be. I’d be remiss if I didn’t also state that Eden also brings to life the friendly, welcoming and loving people of the Highlands. If you’ve traveled outside of the larger cities, you’ll know what I’m speaking of– if not, I highly recommend a vacation and spend some time in the ‘wilds’ (north of Glasgow and Edinburgh; I’d recommend spending time in these cities too if you can) where you’ll experience the country and people of Scotland.

One thing that does irk me, and I mentally questioned this right off, is that Eden was approached and accepted to be a “Special Constable”. This is a part-time voluntary position with limited policing powers of Police Scotland; a local civilian can act in an authority position to keep the local area safe. Yet, in order to be accepted one must be a “British citizens, EU/EEA nationals, Commonwealth citizens, or foreign nationals with indefinite leave to remain in the UK will be accepted. You should also have been resident in the UK for a minimum of three years immediately prior to application.” Maybe this was explained in book one or two, but either way in this edition, Eden is on a temporary 6-month visa and must leave at Christmas as she’s a US Citizen with none of the requirements needed to be a Special Constable. Reed explains that Eden’s father is 1st generation Scot, but if this was the case, why wouldn’t she have applied for dual-citizenship? [Maybe this is also in one of the first two books?]

With the exception of this little bobble, I found Dressed to Kilt a delightful book with a plausible story, likable characters, good [story] timing and best of all, the book was like a little vacation to the Highlands. As Kindle has the e-book for $1.99 it’s worth the time spent to read and you may even go back to get the first several books in the series too!

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